Bill and I are committed to helping Indoor Cycling Studios be as profitable as possible. This special arrangement with parts distributor Sportsmith should help take some of the sting out of purchasing commonly needed replacement parts for your studio. They also offer a wide selection of specialty tools which may help you save additional money by making repairs yourself.
On the remote chance you have never seen his TV show (he must have over a dozen to date) Chef Gordon Ramsay is a very successful and very foul mouthed Celebrity Chef who makes his on-screen living criticizing other Cooks, Chefs and Restaurant owners. He’s also very successful restaurant owner in real life. I’m certain that the producers of any show he appears need to hire an extra hand, who’s sole job is to hit the “Bleep” button until their index finger is bloodied and bruised.
And yet his shows are very popular and have been for years. I have to say I find Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (either the BBC or US versions) very entertaining once you understand his objective for each episode of the show; saving a troubled or near bankrupted restaurant from failure through brutal honesty. NOTE: The BBC versions are a
little lot more foul than those produce for the US markets. Language Warning on the video below
Each episode of Nightmares follows the similar ebb and flow of most any dramatic TV show or movie for that matter:
Intro: Chef Ramsay is called in save some floundering restaurant and his first action is to sit and be served as a normal customer. Inevitably he finds his meal un-editable which sets the stage for…
Initial Confrontation: Ramasy confronts the Owner, the Chef, wait staff and anyone else he can find over the poor quality of the food + (take your pick) the service, decor, prices, etc… His next step is…
Observation: “Let’s see this F*&#&^% place in action” has Ramsey observing the operation of the kitchen and dining room service to get an understanding of where the problems lie. This tends to be one of my favorite parts of the show, especially when he finds rotting food in some dark, walk in freezer.
Candid summation of the problem: Like many reality shows, Ramsey appears outside the restaurant and speaks directly to the camera, offering what is clearly visible to all of us watching… “The place is all F$%#@& up” delivered with a very sullen expression and a less than an optimistic appraisal of his chances for turning the business around.
After watching a half dozen or so shows, it’s obvious that the problems the restaurant is experiencing fall into one these general catagories:
- Owner/Chef Un-Professional Arrogance – “I serve my customers what I want to serve them.”
- Owner denial – “problem? I don’t have any problems…” as he or she stands in an empty dining room at half past 12:00.
- Lack of business / managerial experience – being a good Chef doesn’t make you a good business person.
- Not truly understanding and then delivering what customers want – typically based on what can only be described as willful ignorance
Proposed Solution: Here Ramsey lays out his proposed solution. It maybe a new menu or cooking method that he feels will address the problems that he sees. In most episodes everyone seems to agree, which sets up the…
Second Confrontation: Whether by design, or simply human nature, someone refuses to go along with the suggested changes. This is by far my favorite part, but it typically includes a lot of Bleeping. Here Ramsay gets to the real reason for most, if not all, of the what’s causing the trouble in this business. Time and time again, what Ramsey has to shout, swear and yell his way past is the defensiveness of the person who needs to give up the excuses, swallow their pride and accept responsibility for the current state of the restaurant.
Acceptance of the Solution: After Ramsey has successfully broken down the walls of; arrogance, insecurity, stubbornness, etc… that are ruining the business, everyone is finally on-board with his new changes.
With the new menu and other changes in place, Ramsey stages an event to “Re-Brand” the restaurant to the community. This is crucial to a profitable future, as the success of any local business is word of mouth! There’s a very good reason no one is eating there and bold action is needed to inform past customers that there have been substantial changes. “Please try us again!”
Rebirth of optimism: It worked! The atmosphere in the restaurant is buoyed by a now full dining room of happy customers and a till full of money. Better days are ahead as Ramsey makes one final statement to the camera before walking off to save another restaurant.
Happy (sometimes) Ending: Much like a recovering alcoholic who’s fallen off the wagon, the strong personality of an entrepreneur is difficult to change and then maintain, without slipping back into old habits. This sets up a whole other series of shows where Ramsey returns to steer the business back on course yet again.
It took me a while to understand why I (and obviously quite a few others) like Chef Ramsay. Despite his foul mouth, abrasive personality and endless arrogance he demonstrates a refreshing belief in the capability of the people he’s trying to help. Every expletive laced criticism, accusation or heated confrontation he delivers is based on his honest belief that the recipient can do better.
By now, I’m guessing that you have figured out where I see a potential similarly between a struggling restaurant on Kitchen Nightmares and a class or studio with consistently low attendance.
Winter is coming for many of us and your chance to Re-Brand your class if necessary is right now! If you are frequently looking out over a room with empty cycles, can I suggest that you watch a few episodes? Chef Ramsay doesn’t just show up by accident, someone sent out a request for his help. Pay attention to the disconnect between the reality of the situation and the early behavior of the business owner. And then decide if any of this could apply to your situation.
I’m going to follow this up with a few ideas on how you could find your own version of a “Chef Ramsay” next week.
Cross posted at ICI/PRO
I love knowing what’s expected of me and I bet you do as well. It makes life so much easier! When told; “I need you to do X,Y and Z”… I know to do X,Y and Z. But we’ve all been in the position of being told something was expected of us, but the “something” was never communicated and then the problems begin.
Have you delivered clear expectations to your Instructors?
Mine has 🙂
It came in the form of a well written, three page document from my new boss, Joe Ducosin. Joe is the owner of Cycle Quest Studio where I recently started teaching. Here’s the begining:
CycleQuest Studio Guiding Principles for Instructors
From Joe Ducosin 9/27/11
This document outlines the expectations of CycleQuest Studio instructors and also provides tips and guidelines to follow to create a motivating and enjoyable indoor cycling experience for all customers.
- Try and arrive to class at least 15 minutes before the class start time. Remember that not only do you have to change into your workout clothes, get your own music, bike, stereo, and video setup, but there may also be a few new customers that need to be setup on the bike properly, have the bike computer explained to them, and instructed on what their expectation of the class should be. Also before class is the best time to connect with them on a personal level, learn their name, what their fitness goal is and answer questions they may have about the class and the studio. This is the most important aspect of the studio that sets us apart from other indoor cycling studios – that we are customer focused and make sure all beginners are setup properly on the bike and made to feel comfortable in the class.
- All classes should start on time and you should not wait for customers that are running late. At the end of class remind them to gently drop their handlebars and seat, and wipe down their bikes and any wet spots/puddles on the floor with the paper towels and anti-bacterial soap on each side of the class….
Joe has given me permission to share this and you can download it here.
This was really helpful for me because after 10+ years of teaching I have become a bit set in my ways and some of what Joe is asking from me is very different from what I have done in the past. Joe understands what he wants for his studio and has taken the time to lay it out in a format where I can understand pretty much exactly what he’s looking for from me.
The funny thing about communication is it takes two willing participants for there to be any communicating. Each person involved is equally responsible. If I have expectations for you, I need to clearly communicate them. And the opposite is true as well; If you aren’t getting clear expectations from you manager you might want to let them know you don’t fully understand what’s expected of you.
Take a few minutes to read Joe’s Guiding Principles for Instructors and decide if having some clear expectations would be helpful at your studio and feel free to use this to draft your own list of expectations for your instructors.
If you find this of value can I ask that you drop Joe a quick note of thanks? His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest post from Barbara Hoots
When the world markets were crashing in 1929 and the American economy was in ruins, Angelo Siciliano, an Italian immigrant, saw opportunity in the face of darkness. In the midst of financial despair and against all odds, Siciliano pioneered the fitness revolution as we know it today.
As a young man weighing only 97 pounds, Siciliano was at the beach with his girlfriend when a bully kicked sand in his face. Humiliated, he began doing numerous exercise routines and became obsessed with strength. According to Siciliano’s memoirs, he was at the zoo one day watching a lion stretch when he thought to himself, “Does this old gentleman have any barbells, any exercisers?” Siciliano concluded that lions and tigers became strong by pitting muscle against muscle. He changed his name to Charles Atlas and in the midst of economic turmoil began offering bodybuilding courses through a mail-order fitness program. Advertisements soon appeared in comic books and magazines, and this was the beginning of Charles Atlas Ltd., the fitness industry phenomenon. According to Atlas’s 1982 biography, “Yours in Perfect Manhood,” his company did so well that it emerged from the stock market crash unscathed.
Before the Great Depression lifted, Jack LaLanne, often called the Godfather of Fitness, also influenced millions of lives by teaching people to eat right and exercise regularly. LaLanne, who died last January at the age of 96, opened the first American health club in Oakland, California in 1936. LaLanne spent decades spreading the physical and mental benefits of exercise and designed the world’s first leg-extension machine which is now standard in the industry.
Neither Atlas nor Lalanne were personal trainers but rather shrewd businessmen. Both saw a hunger for people wanting to escape their financial woes and feel good about themselves. While others laughed at the notion of opening a business during an economic meltdown, Atlas and LaLanne created a multi-million dollar fitness empire.
Is something similar brewing? Despite the sagging economy and rising unemployment, several recent polls indicate that tough financial times actually encourage people to redirect their expenses toward health-conscious pursuits while traveling and dining out less often. While some may suggest that dropping your health club membership along with cable television is the right thing to do in a troubled economy, you should never give up your membership in ANY economy. Your gym membership is an incredible value for these 5 reasons:
1. On average, a single meal out costs well over half what your gym membership costs you.
2. Working out regularly keeps you mentally and physically balanced. Enough said.
3. No matter what gym you belong to, it’s a community. Enjoying like-minded individuals is good for the soul.
4. Your health club is a safe harbor. No matter how hectic your life becomes with interruptions, knowing you have a bike waiting in the 6:00 cycling class provides a constant in your daily schedule.
5. Exercise boosts self-confidence, and this is important if you’re dealing with the negative effects of a recession or your confidence is down due to a job loss.
Just like Atlas and LaLanne, studio owners have an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive by promoting fitness as a way to survive financial hardships. While it’s true that money can’t bring happiness, good health most definitely can.
Barbara Hoots is a long time contributor at www.indoorcycleinstructor.com and you can read her other articles here. Considering a new studio? Visit indoorcycledesign.com to learn more about designing the perfect Spinning® Studio.
This is a place for studio owners to call their own. A place to share information, to learn, to get new ideas and to spread the word on the benefits of this workout and the benefits of this business! After seeing the ground swell of interest in starting and running independent Spinning® or Indoor Cycling Studios, studio owner and business consultant Bill Pryor from Spynergy Consulting and John Macgowan host of the Indoor Cycle Instructor Podcast felt that studio owners would benefit from having a place where they can learn from and connect with other studio owners. Here it is! Your thoughts, feedback, contributions and comments are much appreciated. Join us today by clicking the link below.